• Switzerland's news in English
 

Swatch jeweller buys auction-record diamond

Published: 16 May 2013 08:39 GMT+02:00

Christie's representative Raul Kadakia told reporters after the sale that Harry Winston was the buyer of the diamond that smashed the previous auction-price record for a diamond in its category by more than $10 million.
   
"Twenty-three million francs! Your last chance! Twenty-three 
million, sold!" shouted Francois Curiel, the head of Christie's jewellery division, referring to the $23.5-million price before tax and commission, and clinching the deal in front of some 150 people gathered for the auction at a luxury Geneva hotel.
   
As the first ever buyer of the new diamond, Harry Winston had the 
priviledge of naming it and decided to call it the "Winston Legacy," Kadakia said.

He noted this was the diamond dealer's first major purchase since it was snapped up by the world's leading watchmaker for $1 billion in March.
   
Switzerland's Swatch Group, most known for its brightly coloured plastic 
watches, has been eagerly expanding its luxury offerings.

Wednesday's sparkling purchase should perhaps especially tickle the group's chairwoman Nayla Hayek, who was named chief executive of Harry Winston earlier this month.
   
"Diamonds are still a girl's best friend," she said following the January 
announcement that Swatch would buy the company, referring to the famous Marilyn Monroe song that mentions Harry Winston, from the 1953 musical film "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes".
   
The American Institute of Gemology has handed the Harry Legacy the top 
colourless grade "D" and the best clarity grade, "flawless", which is characterized by its "absolute symmetry", according to Christie's.
   
The diamond, sold at the auction by a diamond merchant, was 236 carats in 
the rough when it was extracted from the Jwaneng mine in Botswana, before it was meticulously sculpted for 21 months, Christie's said.
   
Wednesday's sale marked the highest price ever paid for a flawless 
colourless diamond at auction, although Christie's had hoped the new diamond — the largest of its kind to ever go under the hammer — would rake in $30 million.
   
The previous auction-price record-holder in the category was the 
84.37-carat Chloe round diamond, snapped up at a Sotheby's auction in Geneva in 2007 by Guess Jeans founder Georges Marciano for $16.2 million.
   
In the "colourless, flawless" category, the reigning world champion in 
terms of size is meanwhile the Cullinan Diamond, a gem weighing 530.2 carats that is part of the British crown jewels.
   
Last November, Christie's sold the 76-carat Archduke Joseph Diamond, in the 
initially flawless category a notch below flawless, on auction in Geneva for $21.5 million.
   
And in May 2011, a heart-shaped 56-carat diamond was auctioned off for 
$10.9 million.
   
The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond, which is in the same D-colour category but 
weighs in at only 33.19 carats, was meanwhile sold for $8.8 million on auction in New York in December 2011.
   
While Swatch's low-end plastic watches are perhaps its most recognisable, 
the Swiss company operates in every price range, from the Flik Flak kid's watches to prestigious timepieces under for instance the Breguet brand which can cost more than one million Swiss francs a piece.
   
Swatch's acquisition of Harry Winston — one of the world's most 
prestigious diamond dealers — comes after it ended a partnership with luxury jeweller Tiffany & Co in September 2011.

Nina Larson/AFP (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Shock and humour drive police safety video
Image from video. Photo: Lausanne city police

Shock and humour drive police safety video

Lausanne city cops are resorting to shock images — and dark humour — to drive home a message about the potentially fatal consequences of inattention. READ  

Swissmedic warns of weight-loss pill dangers
Photo: Swissmedic

Swissmedic warns of weight-loss pill dangers

Swissmedic, a surveillance agency for medicines, renewed warnings on Tuesday about the dangers of weight-loss remedies purchased through the internet after more than 60 products were tested. READ  

CERN fires up particle smasher after upgrade
Photo: CERN

CERN fires up particle smasher after upgrade

The world's largest particle smasher resumed colliding protons Tuesday as it gradually reboots following a two-year upgrade, the Geneva-based European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) said. READ  

Geneva issues cloud positive HSBC results
Photo: AFP

Geneva issues cloud positive HSBC results

Scandal-hit global bank HSBC on Tuesday posted rising quarterly profits, but added regulators have requested more information about its controversial Geneva-based private bank. READ  

Swiss rank 13th among best places for mums
Photo: Save the Children

Swiss rank 13th among best places for mums

Despite its wealth, Switzerland ranks behind Scandinavian and other European countries among the world's best places to be a mother, according to an annual scorecard from Save the Children International. READ  

More rain renews flood and landslide risks
Photo: Commune de St. Gingolphe /Facebook

More rain renews flood and landslide risks

UPDATED: Many parts of western Switzerland remained on alert as weather forecasters called for additional rain on Tuesday, heightening the risk of more flooding and transportation disruptions. READ  

UBS's healthy Q1 profit exceeds forecasts
Photo: UBS

UBS's healthy Q1 profit exceeds forecasts

UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, on Tuesday reported higher than expected profits for the first quarter of 2015 of almost two billion francs, virtually twice as high as the same period a year earlier. READ  

Weather delays Pacific leg of solar plane's flight
Pilot André Borschberg: 'inner voyage'. Photo: Solar Impulse

Weather delays Pacific leg of solar plane's flight

The Swiss pilot who will attempt a record flight over the Pacific in a solar-powered plane played down the risks on Monday, describing the mission as a journey of self-discovery. READ  

Frenchman dies in cliff fall while taking photos
Photo: Graubünden cantonal police

Frenchman dies in cliff fall while taking photos

Police on Monday said they have launched an investigation into the death of a 25-year-old Frenchman who fell from a cliff while snapping nature photos in the canton of Graubünden. READ  

Federer gains confidence before French Open
Photo: Ozan Kose/AFP

Federer gains confidence before French Open

Roger Federer said winning an 85th career title at the Istanbul Open tennis tournament had given him a boost in confidence on clay ahead of the French Open later this month. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Switzerland's trains again ranked best for performance in Europe
National
Ten percent of Swiss farmers fail to meet government regulations
National
Municipality of Zermatt bans taking selfies with Saint Bernard dogs
Business & Money
Salt (formerly Orange) aims to shake up Switzerland's mobile market
National
Switzerland tops 2015 world 'happiness index' developed by UN
National
French president Hollande basks in good vibes from first Swiss visit
National
New book: Swiss architect Le Corbusier was 'out-and-out fascist'
Features
Tasty street food catches on in biggest Swiss cities
Sport
Invasion of frogs forces early end to Zurich football game
National
New ranking downgrades the 'power' of Switzerland's passport
Features
Swiss hotel management schools serve up 'world best' recipe
National
Segways win approval for operation on Swiss bicycle lanes
National
Joan Baez and Sting in lineup for this summer's Paléo music festival
National
Second CERN club skier dies from avalanche in Valais Alps
Sport
Lausanne and IOC celebrate a century of Olympism
National
Bern waters down criteria for beer that can be labelled ‘Swiss’
National
Internet giant Google named most attractive employer in Switzerland
National
VIDEO: Swiss television satire clip ridicules Americans on ski slopes
National
Immigration remains top election issue for Swiss voters: opinion poll
National
Environmental bureau ranks Zurich first among Europe's 'sootfree cities'
National
Zurich crane-climbing stunt by teenager flags 'roofer' concerns
Education
THE ranks EPFL among seven 'fastest rising young universities'
Features
Mobility takes off as young urban Swiss catch the car-sharing bug
Business & Money
Ethical Coffee Company aims to beat Nespresso in home market
National
Use of temporary staffing continues to rise in Switzerland
Features
Six steps for expats to get along better with the Swiss
National
Swiss foreign affairs minister touted as candidate for top UN job
National
One of Switzerland's most celebrated artists dies in Lucerne at 106
Business & Money
Swiss luxury brand Tag Heuer announces plans for smartwatch
National
Valais lights up 13 mountain peaks for 200th anniversary
Business & Money
Switzerland to avoid recession this year: Credit Suisse forecast
Business & Money
Europe's tallest hotel pitched for Swiss mountain village
National
Exlusive interview: surviving Swiss cousin remembers Anne Frank
National
New Credit Suisse chief executive 'offers hope for Africans'
Business & Money
American expat to make way for African as Credit Suisse CEO
Features
Top tips to help you find an apartment in Switzerland
National
Rising Swiss gender pay gap above European Union average
National
Political deal reached to enact Swiss holiday home restrictions
National
Optimism drives this year's Geneva International Motor show
National
Robust Swiss economy beats forecasts for 2014: government
Sport
Federer scores upset win against Djokovic for seventh Dubai title
National
Swiss train in collision near Zurich ignored stop signal: SBB
Technology
Switzerland best in world for per capita European patent filings
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

4,767
jobs available
?>